JCPS considers lifting cell phone ban for some high schools - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS considers lifting cell phone ban for some high schools

Posted: Updated:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A group of principals say they don't want to miss an opportunity for learning. Learning that they say could be reached through a device that many teens are already carrying in their book bags.

For now, JCPS has a "no cell phone policy" -- but principals from eight area high schools are looking to get a waiver from that rule. The group attended a special work session Monday to address board member concerns and answer questions about the proposed policy changes at the schools.

Waggener Principal Katy Zeitz says she will be requesting a waiver.

"Anything that we can do to engage more kids, increase attendance, help kids use the tools we're paying for is a win-win," Zeitz said.

She wants to use cell phones not only for instructional purposes, but for learning about appropriate usage.

"If we don't do anything and we don't have access then we kind of lose those opportunities for our students," Zeitz said.

Principals from Ballard, DuPont Manual, Fairdale, Iroquois, Seneca, Southern, Valley, and Waggener High Schools attended the work session. Not all schools have submitted a waiver request yet.

For Chris Perkins, principal at Iroquois High School, integrating cell phones into the learning experience is only natural for his already connected students. "It's important that we make sure we keep up to speed with how students learn and the technology they have available to them and the method they learn on their own."

Board members asked plenty of questions and expressed concern over the proposed change in policy. Board members Linda Duncan and Chris Brady requested that the use of cell phones in classrooms and on campus be a pilot program. Both expressed concern over allowing too many schools to participate in the first year of the policy. 

"We can't just flip a switch and turn everybody loose because there are too many loose ends we've heard tonight," said Duncan.

Some board members asked about liability issues, and even whether all cell phone carriers offered the applications teachers use in the classroom. "Just because someone has access or has a device doesn't mean they are going to be able to access the same applications a teacher wants to implicate and use," said Brady.

Many also said they worried about personal cell phone use creating a digital divide between the "haves" and the "have-nots".

"If we only have 25 devices out there but we have 50 students who don't have any device, then there are still another 25 students who don't have access to that," said Brady."That's not capturing all those students, and that's still a divide."

But the principals said they will supplement the personal smart phones with in-classroom tablets and computers.

"Whether they have their own or not we will make sure the classrooms are equipped so all of them have access to it," said Perkins.

With many unknowns in front of them, school principals say they realize it will be a learning experience. "I think a big part of this is going to have some of us just do it, and see what happens," said Zeitz.

Copyright 2013 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.